Revenue matters—not only for private sector companies, but in the nonprofit sector too. This is why your organization is probably gearing up for its annual Giving Tuesday push as you read this. With luck, your marketing and fundraising teams already have a clean and segmented list of active and known audiences, and will be deploying an omnichannel campaign to increase awareness and gain new audience members. 

Yet as your organization makes this heavily invested push (staff time counts as cost invested), it’s important to ask: do you have a plan in place to onboard your new audience and cultivate them over time? As they come in from various channels, are you able to use your data to analyze what is working and what isn’t, and pivot as needed? 

More importantly: do you have a solid architecture to ensure you don’t lose contacts due to leaks between the different technical systems in your organization? For example, if you use an email marketing system or marketing automation platform, are contacts flowing into a CRM that’s a single source of truth for audience data—or is data currently fragmented across multiple databases, CRMs and email systems?

While pushing hard on Tuesday, it’s possible on Wednesday that your organization still has small holes in its internal process and technical architecture that are creating revenue leaks through lost contacts, contact churn, and an inability to segment. When governance protocols are fuzzy or are inconsistently applied across teams, or data doesn’t flow well between internal systems, you will need to generate even more contacts to replace lost audience members.

Like a leaky pipe in the house, it really might not be apparent that there is a problem today… but that doesn’t mean that the lost revenue doesn’t add up over time.

The first step: assessing if there are holes

A leak does the most damage when you don’t know about it. So, the first step is to look at current processes and architecture to assess the potential for leakages. Different organizations have different strengths and weaknesses in their plumbing; it’s helpful to know exactly what yours are, so that you can focus on making progress on the imperfections over time.

More immediately, it’s time to create a plan to measure the performance of contacts made during your Giving Tuesday push, and set a concrete target for retention of new contacts. You should also take advantage of the opportunity to experiment with new onboarding outreach to see what is most effective.

With the pace of digital transformation accelerating greatly throughout the pandemic, you’ll hopefully see an uptick in attention and donations due to more people having made the shift to fully online interactions. Of course, our sector still has its share of challenges. Yet I believe this will be a wonderful season to have fun, evaluate our work, and shore up our efforts to increase the base of revenue we rely on to achieve our missions.